Soon-to-be Speaker McCarthy drops the act, confirms Benghazi Committee is just about taking Hillary down

As majority leader, Kevin McCarthy is the odds-on favorite to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House when Boehner resigns at the end of next month. As someone who had a front row seat to Boehner losing his grip on his historically conservative caucus (more on that later today), it looks like he’s preparing to spend this month reassuring conservatives that he won’t just manage the House; he’ll punch Democrats in the mouth while he does it.

In an interview on Hannity last night, McCarthy gave Boehner’s speakership a grade of B- (Style: D+, Substance: B) and assured Hannity that he, too, felt “betrayed” by Republican leadership — odd, given that he’s #2 in said leadership.

However, the most consequential moment in the interview came when McCarthy highlighted the House Select Committee on Benghazi as a reason why when it comes to taking on the Democrats, he means business. As he said, quoted by Roll Call:

Kevin McCarthy, via Wikimedia Commons

Kevin McCarthy, via Wikimedia Commons

What you’re going to see is a conservative speaker, that takes a conservative Congress, that puts a strategy to fight and win.

And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?

But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.

To date, the Republican obsession with Benghazi has been couched in concern for the four Americans who died — we need to find out what happened — despite their shoulder-shrugging in the face of similar attacks that occurred under George Bush. And all this time, it’s been patently obvious that their concern has very little to do with American lives and very much to do with making it look like Hillary Clinton was on the one hand totally incompetent and on the other hand engaged in a far-reaching, detailed conspiracy to undermine American interests. The steady drip of hearings and investigations aren’t designed to find wrongdoing; they’re designed to simply raise the possibility that there’s something there.

As Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said in a statement:

…this stunning concession from Rep. McCarthy reveals the truth that Republicans never dared admit in public: the core Republican goal in establishing the Benghazi Committee was always to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and never to conduct an even-handed search for the facts.

Hillary Clinton will testify before the Benghazi Committee later next month in what we already know amounts to a show trial — a fact laid even more bare by McCarthy’s admission that the committee exists for the sole purpose of taking her down.

If the Republicans are as ready for her hearing as they were for Cecile Richards yesterday, it’ll be an absolute train wreck.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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15 Responses to “Soon-to-be Speaker McCarthy drops the act, confirms Benghazi Committee is just about taking Hillary down”

  1. Texon says:

    A speaker that does not know how to speak. Pretty much sums up or government, elected officials want to destroy our democracy by insisting on my way or no way.

  2. FLL says:

    Rachel Maddow has, and she’s pieced together some hilarious clips of McCarthy “speaking.” It sounds like the guy is not a native speaker of English (even though he is). HIs mangled English is often worse than some of my students who take college ESL classes. Below is the link to Maddow’s segment. The first five and a half minutes are the clips of McCarthy “speaking.” She returns to McCarthy’s admission about Benghazi at the 11:00 mark. When you hear the initial clips of McCarthy’s speaking skills, you will die laughing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XMnRtHdpbg

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  4. rerutled says:

    Let’s be clear: using governmental powers, granted in trust by voters, as a means to persecute citizens is the purview of authoritarian dictatorships. That Hillary Clinton can (largely) withstand the attacks in no way lessens the fact that the Republican Party — including future Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, the head of one of the major branches of government — sees their granted governmental powers as a tool to go after their enemies.

  5. ComradeRutherford says:

    “Don’t defend. Attack.”

    That’s Miyamoto Musashi, ‘Book of Five Rings’ right there. Turn every parry into a thrust.

  6. ComradeRutherford says:

    These ‘journalists’ all know they’d lose their jobs before they even finished their first real question.

  7. ComradeRutherford says:

    Well, yeah, he admitted it. How is it going to hurt the GOP to just say it? This is the GOP that routinely shuts down the government just to damage America. The GOP attacks America from every angle, and with Boehner’s departure, it’s time to own up to their policy of Party Over Country.

  8. FLL says:

    Speaker McCarthy’s admission is a gift to any Democratic candidate, whether it’s Hillary or anyone else. Just because Bernie isn’t specifically targeted by the Benghazi committee doesn’t mean that he or any other Democratic candidate can’t use McCarthy’s foolish admission to show voters how ill-suited Republicans are to take over the White House.

  9. keirmeister says:

    Actually, it’s quite easy: you choose not to play. One way I usually fight that debate tactic is to call it out directly and don’t let the person hide behind it.

    Usually people pull that kind of crap because they expect the other side to spend too much time trying to defend themselves. When that happens, don’t defend. Attack.

  10. nicho says:

    You can’t defend against a Gish Gallop.

  11. keirmeister says:

    Definitely good points, and I’m worried Hillary Clinton isn’t getting out in front of this stuff enough. Out of sight, out of mind.

    But yeah, the way they treated Cecile Richards was both abhorrent, and (now, sadly) typical. After watching it, I increased my Planned Parenthood donation.

  12. BeccaM says:

    Did you see how the GOPers treated Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood) yesterday in committee? How she sat there as the Republican chairman barked accusatory questions at her and, as soon as she tried to answer, interrupted. By some counts it was something like 18 or 19 interruptions in less than 10 minutes.

    Just my opinion, but testifying before a Benghazi committee is probably the worst possible political optics. Now then, getting out in front of the accusations publicly — that’d be a different matter, and in my opinion the real mistake Kerry made back then. I do think if Clinton wants to overcome these BS accusations, she and her peeps need to get out in front of it. Hell, the GOPers just handed her an opportunity today, “Would be Speaker of the House, Republican Kevin McCarthy admitted their ceaseless so-called investigations have nothing to do with getting to the truths we already know about Benghazi, but for no other reason than to attack me personally and attempt to derail my campaign to be your next President.”

    Say it. Say it loudly. Don’t make the mistake Kerry did, which was to assume people would be smart enough to know the Swift Boat stuff was total BS. In politics today, a lie left uncountered long enough is eventually presumed by the gullible to be the truth.

  13. BeccaM says:

    Well, duh. Of course it’s nothing but a partisan witch-hunt. Never was anything else. Same with the email server BS.

  14. keirmeister says:

    Hillary’s testimony before the Benghazi committee could turn out to help her campaign tremendously – if she plays it correctly.

    One of the reasons John Kerry lost is because he never forcefully defended his honor against the Swift Boat attacks. If you can’t defend yourself, why would the American people trust you to defend them?

    If Hillary comes out strong she could show the American people how she responds to a bully. Frankly, that’s what general American voters look for. Kicking the ass of a Congress that keeps trying to slime her could be the best gift ever.

  15. Indigo says:

    The easiest way to prove that government doesn’t work is to break it. The agenda is already well advance, there’s no reason to image that McCarthy will do anything to prevent the ruin of the US federal government. In a serious democracy, the Senate would give him hemlock to drink but that’s not happening in this pseudo-parliamentary free for all.

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